It is a season of transitions. Jewishly we just completed counting the Omer to the receipt of the Torah. In the history of the Jewish people this is a substantial transition. The Omer is counted up as we become more prepared for a better place, the receiving of Torah on the 50th day. Various traditions exist about the implications of missing a night, thereby breaking the count and one’s ability to restart.
Other transitions are also happening around us. Many have been counting the years in school and some have reached the top! It is graduation season, which means that all of us will likely experience transitions in the coming weeks. For those who are graduating, it will mean a change in daily routine and potentially a physical move. For the rest of us, it brings the possibility of a friend moving to another city.
So, what does counting the Omer have to do with friendship? In short, time and commitment.
A recent study of individuals who recently moved sought to explore how long it takes to develop friends. Just as we count to 50 (we do not say 50) to seek the Torah, so too the study suggests we must spend 50 hours with someone for them to transition from an acquaintance to a friend. So what are the implications when we cancel plans or forget to reach out, and break the cycle to 50 hours? Are we flexible and do we allow for the relationship to keep going and counting, or do we choose to cut it off?
The time investment is even greater for a person to become a best friend, just as we must invest time learning and doing for Jewishness to have a deep impact on life. As we head into these times of transition, let’s think about who in our life we may not be as close to because of not committing the needed time, and what relationships might be struggling because we have stopped counting and just need to start up again.
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